I’ve been thinking all week about what I’d write today. Would it be another doom-and-gloom outpouring of pain? Or a deeply hateful and sarcastic discussion of how “Hillary and Trump are the same” with a full, seemingly endless list of every abhorrent thing Trump has done as president? Both seemed appropriate, while still nowhere near what I wanted to actually discuss, because what I want is to not be living this waking nightmare a full year later, that the lies we told ourselves that the pain would go away would come true. Because the way we felt waking up on November 9, that feeling never stopped and in fact has ebbed and flowed from same to far worse. The Trump administration has been everything we feared and worse and the fact that we can still be shocked and horrified by him, that it hasn’t become totally normal, is small comfort, because we’ve accepted so much more as normal than we ever thought possible.
Things are terrible. Things have been terrible. And sometimes it feels like we’re waiting for an impossible change, or at the very least a lateral move that could prove even worse. And while we continue to fight and speak out, there’s been this strange sensation I’ve come to call radical hopelessness. We’re fighting, but we’re fighting with a massive, immobile brick wall, and that wall isn’t coming down. I’ve written so much about hopelessness—personal and political. I just couldn’t bear to do it again.
And then last night happened. Last night, Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person to be elected to state legislature, ousting a 13-term incumbent who was openly and proudly homophobic and transphobic. Last night, Andrea Jenkins was elected to city council in Minneapolis, becoming the first openly trans woman of color to do so in a major US city. Last night, Ravinder Bhalla became the first Sikh mayor of New Jersey. Last night, Lee Carter, a Marine veteran and democratic socialist from Virginia ousted the Republican incumbent and House Majority Whip to the state’s House of Delegates. Last night, Tyler Titus became the first openly trans person elected in Pennsylvania. Last night, Jenny Durkan became the first openly lesbian mayor of Seattle. Last night, Larry Krasner, who defended Black Lives Matter leaders in court, was elected district attorney of Philadelphia. Last night, there were so many wins for progress. For hope.
And for the first time since November 9, I felt less hopeless.
Many of us spent the better part of last year hoping for revolution. But revolution isn’t always instant or immediate. It’s not knocking down that brick wall, not always and not at first. That wall isn’t ready to come down yet, but it’s chipping, bits of old brick flaking off in a pile at our feet. And last night, I think I felt it give just a little bit more.
Bring on 2018.